Beijing Daxing International Airport (PKX), the second international airport in Beijing, opened on September 29th 2019 with the second-largest single-building airport terminal in the world.
I visited the airport one week after its opening to experience its daily operation. To get to the airport from Beijing city centre there are two railway options, many airport bus routes and of course you can drive.
A new high-speed railway service connecting the urban area of Beijing to the new airport was opened on September 26th 2019. The train departs from Beijing West railway station and takes only 28 minutes to the airport, with a top speed of 250 km/h (160 mph).
Beijing West railway station connects Beijing subway Line 7 and Line 9. It is the largest railway station in Asia and serves a maximum of 400,000 people per day. Currently, there is a dedicated entrance for passengers going to Daxing Airport at the centre of the station.
Ticketing centres are located on either side of the entrance.
All trains serving Daxing Airport depart from Waiting Room 10, Business Class passengers can use the lounge at Waiting Room 12.
Each day a dozen trains serve each way with three different classes, Business Class, First Class, and Second Class. Note that every seat on the train has charging ports and has access to free WiFi.
Business Class is above First and features full-flat seats in 1-1 or 1-2 configurations.
First Class is in a 2-2 configuration with seats all facing forward.
Second Class is also in a 2-2 configuration but with narrower seats facing both forward and rearward.
Two trains each day have a short stop at Beijing Daxing station.
Daxing Airport Station has full platform screen doors installed.
At Daxing Airport Station, you can either go to the manual ticketing window or use one of the ticketing machines shown below.
Another railway transportation that connects the airport to the urban area of Beijing is the Daxing Airport Express of Beijing Subway. The line links Caoqiao station on Line 10 to the airport.
You can easily check-in at the city terminal in Caoqiao Station and that includes any luggage that you may have. Your checked luggage will take the first section of the subway, which is a luggage car, to the airport directly.
The line operates at a top speed of 160 km/h (99 mph) and is fully automated. The travel time from Caoqiao to the Airport is only 19 minutes. Ordinary Class one-way fare is ¥35 and Business Class one-way fare is ¥50 from Caoqiao to Daxing Airport. I love the design of the ticket.
The Business Class is in a 1-2 configuration and each seat gets a tray table, a reading light and a USB charging port.
The Ordinary Class is in a 2-2 configuration and each seat gets a USB charging port.
Between Caoqiao and Daxing Airport, there is another station called Daxing Xincheng; do not get off at the wrong station!
Daxing Airport Station has many automatic ticketing machines.
Business Class passengers get a dedicated boarding area and there is even a small lounge inside.
Even the Subway station is beautifully designed to reflect the style of the airport.
For domestic flights, there are check-in counters in all three departure levels (4F, 3F, B1) even underground. On the B1 floor, there are check-in counters right across the subway and the train stations.
The fourth floor has check-in counters for all flights. In the future when international flights begin, their check-in counters will also be located here.
There are many automated machines at the check-in counters and if you look carefully, you will find that the luggage belt is on the same level as the floor; this means that you do not need to lift the luggage at check-in anymore. All airports should install a belt like this.
Currently, China United Airlines, as the first airline operating at Daxing, is offering a beautiful special boarding pass.
For domestic flights, there are security checkpoints both on the B1 and on the third floor. B1 checkpoint has the most efficient design I found at Daxing. Stepping out from the subway, 5 minutes walk to the security, 5 minutes get through it and within the next 5 minutes you are at the boarding gate.
The third-floor security is designed for all domestic departures and we can expect exclusive security in both premium areas. Later, for international flights, passengers will go through customs and security on the fourth floor.
The airport’s master plan was designed by Netherlands Airport Consultants (NACO). The terminal building was designed by British architects Zaha Hadid Architects and French planners ADPI, it was executed by the Beijing Institute of Architectural Design (BIAD). Designed by all these top architects in the world, Daxing Airport is one of the most beautiful airports I have ever visited.
In the resting area there are many different kinds of seats, including working desks with charging ports and a children’s area.
For lounges, both China Southern and China Eastern have their own; the airport also operates a lounge for other airlines. Passengers travelling on the second floor of an Airbus A380s can expect to board the upstairs directly.
At each end of the five concourses, there is a different outdoor courtyard.
Shops & Restaurants
Daxing Airport has over a hundred different shops and restaurants across the terminal. Passengers can get more stuff from here than from many shopping malls. Eaters can taste Beijing roast duck, hotpot, dumplings, milk tea and almost every other thing you can think of. These are also banks, postal offices, travel agencies, supermarkets and fruit stores in the terminal.
Daxing Airport is definitely one of those airports where I would be willing to spend a whole day to transfer. The scale of automation use is incredible, from check-in to security to boarding. If feels as if there are unlimited food choices and stores to check out. Most importantly, getting to or from the city centre is fast and comfortable.
How do you feel about Beijing Daxing Airport? Do you want to fly there one day?